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Story Homily: The Best Town in the Land

When I do a family mass, I have to address the challenge of speaking to children and adults without slighting either in homily. I am aware of the admonition that if you preach to the children to reach the adults, you will reach neither. So I respond to the challenge by giving a homily in story form and ask the families to discuss it after mass.

Once upon a time in a land far, far away there was a kingdom. The kingdom was so big, it was divided into different sectors called counties and each county had between eighteen and twenty-five towns. The kingdom had so many counties that the King always visited one county a year and still only ended up visiting each county once in his lifetime.

The word spread throughout Augustonian county that he would visit there next month. Well the word spread quickly and all the people were happy and began to prepare. That was except for the town of Brilliante. The people of brilliante considered their town the best in the whole kingdom, not just the county, the kingdom.

They had the best mayor, Mayor Joaquin Valle and they had the best schools, the best building and the best town square. The town was always the cleanest in the land and the people were the proudest in the kingdom of their town.

They had a meeting in in the town church, which was the best church in the kingdom and all the residents were excited about the king’s meeting.

“What shall we do?” Said Mrs. Johnson. Her husband was the best baker in the kingdom.

“What can we do?” said Mayor Valle. “Our town in the best.”

Everyone shook their heads in agreement.

“If we are the best, what can do to improve it to make it better. We are already there.”

Everyone shook their heads in agreement in unison. That was except Billy Groden.

Billy was a young and precocious boy just turned 16 who was always asking questions. “There must be something we can do to get better.” He said.

“Shhh, Billy.” said his parents. “You do not know what you are talking about.

Billy said nothing and just looked down at the floor.

“Well, Billy.” said the mayor. “You do go to the best school don’t you?”

The boy shook his head in agreement.

“All the other students are smart like you right?”

The boy shook his head yes again.

“Then what do you think we can do better.”

The boy shrugged his shoulders, but he still felt they could always be better. He also believed that some of the other students felt the same way, but they were not going to say anything.

The clock struck the hour, it was a cuckoo cuckoo clock and it was the best in the land. Mr. Stencil, the clock maker made it, and he made the best clocks.

Everyone went home and marked their calenders that in just three weeks and five days the King would arrive as he visited every town in the county.

They just made sure the town was running as it always did. All the clerks, who everyone knew were the best, continued being the best.

Now the other towns were not like this one and the people in each town worked hard to make every building, every street, every clock, everything ready for the king. They were busy day and night getting ready.

The people in Brilliante did some preparing: Mr. Colson, the best sign painter in the land, built a huge calendar that marked how many days before the king arrived. Everyday he came out to move the marker so everyone knew they were one day closer to the day the king was coming.

However, they hardly had to do as much as those in the surrounding towns because they were already the best

Finally, the day arrived and everyone knew the king was visiting every town in the county. They heard that he was in Colsville, just three towns away. Then they heard he was in Oaksville, just two towns away. They waited for him to come to their wonderful town.

The cuckoo clock rang every hour and with each hour the people were filled with more expectation. As hours passed, the townsfolk became more and more impatient, more and more nervous. Some asked if maybe the king forgot them. Others reminded them that they were the best town in the kingdom, no one could forget them.

But the wait continued and continued and continued.

Finally, just as the sun went down, the townspeople saw a man come on horseback. He was not the king and he had no one with him. But he clearly was one of the king’s men.

When he arrived he simply said: “The king sends his regrets, but he wanted to see as many towns as he could in the county.He could not continue tomorrow because the king only visits on Saturday, for Sunday he reserves for the Jesus, the Lord.

All the towns were working to improve, but he knew that your town already considered itself the best.. So he decided not to visit because he knew there was nothing you would do to improve. He apologizes.”

The people were shocked and disappointed. They all slowly walked to their homes, disappointed that they did not see the king. That was except Billy Groden. Some said that he could be heard saying “I told you so.” when he arrived at school the next day. The best school in the land.

Discussion questions:

1. How does this relate to the Gospel of the Day?

2. What sacrament is being indicated here?

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